It seems to me that governments ought to assert the public
interest that the new "geospatially-aware search services"
support open, international standards.
For instance, Google Earth is "a 3D mapping product that
combines Google search with Keyhole technology that will
enable users to find geographic information and explore
places around the world" (per article at
I'll bet that Google's new service will prompt a response
from Microsoft, and other vendors will follow suit quickly.
Google Earth could be interoperable with the ISO standard
search service (a comparison of the Google API and ISO 23950
is at http://www.gils.net/srwGoogle.html ). Also, I hear
that Google's Keyhole technology could implement other
relevant standards such as Web Map Service as well.
This is a perfect example where support of open standards
by major companies would clearly be in the public interest
worldwide, and cost for that support by vendors is minimal.
Now is the time for governments to let these vendors know
that geospatially-aware search services must support open
standards, at least ISO 23950 and OGC Web Map Service.
I don't know how best to send such a signal, so please
let me know if you have ideas on how to pursue this.